[Festivals Stories] Góbéfest

05 Oct 2021

3 > 5 September 2021
Manchester, United Kingdom

Folk arts, music, dance

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Góbéfest is one of the largest celebrations of arts & culture from the Carpathian Basin in the United Kingdom. The festival brings authentic folk arts, music, dance, food and drink from the most diverse regions in Europe to the centre of Manchester. Now in its fourth year Góbéfest has a unique Transylvanian Sekler Hungarian (Székely) theme, unveiling the mysteries of this folkloric land laden with culture, music and history. The festival welcomes Hungarian, Romanian, Slovakian, Bulgarian, Polish artists and contributors, to name just a few. Our festival had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, so we decided to go online with a 3 day Góbé at Home Virtual festival, bringing a family friendly festival weekend into the living rooms of our audience. Three days of events from the heart of Eastern Europe (Friday 26 - Sunday 28 June) included live streamed workshops, dance performances and an encyclopedia of music, spanning folk, jazz, classical, opera and pop.

Each day the festival began with a Ringató baby music workshop, suitable from birth to age three. Ringató, which translates as 'rocking in arms', is influenced by the teachings of Zoltán Kodály, whose child friendly approach has been adopted all over the world.

Friday and Sunday saw storytelling sessions, in Hungarian and English, direct from the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest. On Saturday, the Zsigmond Király School from Manchester staged a homemade lockdown paper cut puppet show.

Little chefs could put on their aprons each day and joined home cooks, top restaurants and street food stars as they revealed the foodie secrets of Transylvania, sharing hard to find recipes for hard to pronounce dishes including lángos and kürtöskalács.

Crafty folk were invited to try their hand at Hungarian embroidery or intricate gingerbread decorating, whilst prime movers could pick up some new steps from Góbé At Home's daily Transylvanian, Hungarian and Romanian dance workshops.

Festival favourites Mátyás Király Zither Ensemble, who are all still at school and have played at every Góbéfest since 2017, performed from their home town of Kecskemét in Hungary. A back-to-basics workshop introduced playing the zither to absolute beginners.

Szentegyháza Children's Philharmonia choir has performed internationally since it was established 30 years ago. Its 140 members are aged from 10-20 years. The choir also put together a heartwarming video for our online audience. Well known Rock band Transylmania and speed folk punk band Bohemian Betyars recorded amazing concerts from their gardens and lounges.

What we are most proud of is that we involved everyone in our virtual festival, all of our partners, local and international, and all of the artists who were set to perform live in Manchester City Centre. We streamed 27 hours of quality content in total, gained a new online audience and improved our online presence. We also live streamed 9 concerts in 2021continuing the virtual festival experience.

More information: https://gobefest.com/

(General Editor: Simon Mundy)